Section 4: Society and the environment are affected by space exploration and the development of space technologies. 4.1 The Risks and Dangers of Space Exploration - The dangers of space environment were discussed in section 2. Besides those dangers, there are others. Accidents may result in loss of life, economic setbacks and many years of work. In 1967 3 astronauts of Apollo 1 died during a training exercise. In 2003 7 astronauts died when the space Shuttle Columbia broke apart during re-entry. The Dangers of Manned Space Travel - A launch can be affected by many dangers, including highly explosive fuel, poor weather, malfunctioning equipment, human error and even birds. Once in flight, the spacecraft can be affected by floating debris, meteoroids and electromagnetic radiation. Re-entering Earth’s atmosphere also has its dangers. The re-entry path the spacecraft takes must be perfect, otherwise, if it is too shallow – it will bounce off the atmosphere, and if it is too steep – it will burn up. Space Junk - Space junk refers to all the pieces of debris that have fallen off rockets, satellites, space shuttles and space stations that remain in space. This can include specks of paint, screws, bolts, non-working satellites, antennas, tools and equipment that is discarded or lost. The Hazards in Space - Over 4000 missions have been sent into space. Micrometeorites are constantly bombarding spacecraft and the International Space Station. They travel at extremely high velocity and can cause great damage. Once they enter the atmosphere, they usually burn up. The Hazards on Earth - Some debris in space will enter the atmosphere and will not totally burn up. When this occurs, it may land in populated areas and case loss of life or damage to property. Some satellites, or decommissioned space stations, that re-enter the atmosphere have radioactive parts and can contaminate a very large area, costing a lot of money and hours to clean it up. Some burn up in the atmosphere and those parts that don’t, can fall into the ocean, making recovery and clean-up less costly. 4.2 Canadian Contributions to Space Exploration and Observation - - One of the most notable Canadian contributions to the international space program is the “Canadarm”. It was launched in 1981 and has served a very useful purpose on many missions, including launching and retrieving satellites for use of repair, fixed the Hubble Telescope and put modules of the International Space Station together. Canada has also launched many satellites into orbit, example: Alouette 1 in 1962. - Chris Hadfield – 1st Canadian to walk in space. 4.3 Issues Related to Space Exploration The Pros and Cons of Space Exploration - Disease, poverty, hunger, pollution and terrorism are all problems that face the people of Earth. Spending billions to explore space, or spending billions to solve the conditions we currently experience is an ongoing debate. The Potential Value of Space’s Resources - Resources in space mean economic wealth. Energy supplies appear to be unlimited – solar energy from the Sun and mineral resources from the Asteroid belt. The cost of travel in space could be cut substantially if fuel and construction materials are readily available in space. Political, Ethical and Environmental Issues Political Who owns space? Ethical Environmental Is it right to spend so much on Who is responsible for space, instead of fixing protecting space Earth’s problems? environments from alteration? Who can use the resources in Do we have a right to alter Who is responsible for space? materials in space to meet cleaning up space junk? our needs? Who will determine what goes How can we ensure that on in space? exploration will be used for good and not evil? Collaboration between nations with a “space treaty” may resolve some of these issues and pave the way to ensure that space exploration is orderly, meaningful and fair to all humans and all nations.